- Papa Johns has named Joe Sieve as its new chief restaurant officer, effective May 2, the company announced Tuesday. He will oversee operations for both company-owned and franchised units in North America, and will report to Max Wetzel, executive vice president and chief commercial officer.
- Sieve has 20 years of experience in restaurant operations. He began his career as a Domino’s franchisee and eventually grew his portfolio to 58 units. Sieve also served as director of strategic market growth at Domino’s. Most recently, he spent six years at Inspire Brands as vice president of franchise development.
- Sieve succeeds Jim Norberg, who announced his departure in October 2021 after a two-year stint with the company.
In September, the Papa Johns announced its largest domestic franchising deal, and Sieve's hiring could help it continue that momentum. His tenure as a pizza chain franchisee and franchise development executive gives him both corporate and on-the-ground perspective on restaurant-level operations.
As chief restaurant officer, Sieve will be tasked with driving operational improvements through innovation and delivering customer satisfaction. Efficient operations are critical for companies as they meet rapidly changing consumer expectations for speed and accuracy and save money through efforts like inventory control and automation.
In 2020, Papa Johns added an artificial intelligence phone system to ensure restaurants don’t miss orders or opportunities to upsell. It has also invested in technology that flattens pizza dough, which the company says can cut 40 seconds of production time off each pizza. Such cost-cutting efficiencies are critical in an inflationary environment.
According to the company’s Q4 call in February, average unit volumes in North America grew by 12% year-over-year and now exceed $1.1 million. These unit economics have led to new store openings and development deals that will "significantly expand our presence," according to CEO Rob Lynch.
Sieve's time at Domino’s included facilitating the company’s successful fortressing strategy, which could also benefit Papa Johns as it grows. The strategy focuses on building more locations in critical markets to improve attributes like speed and put pressure on competitors. It works particularly well for a concept with a heavy delivery footprint and lower real estate costs like pizza.
"I can't think of a better time to join this impressive team and help build on all the great work Papa Johns is doing today," Sieve said in a statement. "The work and investments in technology and operations have created a unique platform for long-term growth."